danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
A jolly weekend in Birmingham with BB.

We arrived late on Friday night and checked in to our more upmarket than usual hotel in the centre of Birmingham. A bit of a chat and a catch up (a chatchup) on the train meant we were all ready for an early night on Friday. BB is working hard for her A Levels and, as Captain Wrangler of the Day last weekend I think we both deserved an early night.

Saturday, breakfast at the hotel and then out to the Universtiy campus to look at (from the outside) the favoured halls of residence for BB's first year. They look fine. Some are older than others. They will be small rooms in small flats I guess but the new ones should at least be warm and dry. Birmingham University has a campus on the outskirts of the city and part of this is essentially a park with a load of student flats in it. This includes a twenty storey high rise hall which looks dead swanky.

It was a lovely sunny day for a walk so we walked around a lot. We found ourselves at about 3pm looking for a coffee and the only place open was the staff bar. I saw the end of the Scottish Cup semi-final between Hibs and Dundee United, had a pint of local university beer and nice sandwich.

Back to town to visit Waterstones. I bought, the first (chronologically) Flashman book, two novels by Lindsay Davis, one a Flavia Alba novel and the other a courtly intrigue about Domitian, a book on evolution, a history of the War of the Three Kingdons and Mary Beard's general history of Rome. BB bought nothing - she has enough reading to do.

We went out for a curry for dinner by the canalside - it was nice. Birmingham seems to be gentrifying itself. This is a thing I am mostly in favour of. Then home to watch some television and read and have another early night.

Sunday, no breakfast, but a walk along the canal to a Brazilian barbeque buffet for early lunch then home on the train.

Restful and pleasant.

BB seems okay about the exams. I'm not sure there is much I can do to help her.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Here follows a short and fluffy update on my holiday.

Family Visits

My sister and brother in law were in town for Easter. My youngest brother popped in for the weekend on his way to working offshore. He dropped off his dog for dad and the Captain to look after. Bluebird visisted for her last Easter holiday before the access arrangements expire. Dad had returned from Australia.

So I cooked lunch. Dad cooked lunch. Then I cooked lunch again. Lunch was eaten. One of the lunch was a pre-birthday tea for BB, who turns 18 soon.

Then BB went on a three day Introduction to Cookery course at the New Town Cookery School. It seemed to do the job of introducing her to foundational techniques so she can cook with confidence when at uni. Money well spent if it helps her manage her budget and eat properly, healthily and enjoyably. Judging by the quality of the food that came back she's learnt a lot.


Caught up with some old uni friends and their four children on Sunday. A pleasant lunch and a short walk followed by an ice cream. Four children are ruinously expensive.

Andy nearly joined us for one of the lunches after setting fire to his kitchen.


Enjoyed some wine from Naked Wine and had a Grasshoper now that I've tracked down some white Creme de Cacao. Delicous stuff. Had a delicious bottle of Moet et Chandon 1998 to celebrate BB's birthday. Very delicious.


Took delivery of my new painting station from Hobby Zone of Poland. The painting station itself is superb. Took about an hour to assemble with a little help from MLW. Holds all my paint. It should allow me to do painting in shorter bursts and the tidy up quickly so that I can do more in the evening without MLW feeling like she's living a Warhammer shop.

However, it doesn't fit in the box that I thought it would by about 5mm. I'd clearly measured the internal dimensions of the box incorrectly. This is a bit of a blow but good will triumph over evil. I've found an online bespoke cardboard box shop so I can have a box that fits perfectly in to the space I want to put it, which will contain the painting station and some other things and be out of the way and tiday.


My Lovely Wife and I spent a few days in the garden. Mostly this was tidying up after the winter. The flat is on a corner over looking a park so lots of leaves get blown into it. Excellent mulch but there is a need to clear them away. A bit of pruning. Well quite a lot of pruning. MLW had stern words with the Naughty Clematis and I tackled the Excellent Good Rose. I'm redirecting its energies along the wall. I did manage to get myself entangled in it with a nasty combination of thorns under my arm and in my wrist.

Other pruning and staking and re-shaping happened. Generally the garden looks like someone cares for it now.

We got the trellis for the Corner Clematis up on the wall. This has been a job in the offing for several years. I hope the Corner Clematis now thrives in a it's blowsy purple way. Along side the Corner Clematis went a bird house. Bets are invited on how long this survives being stolen.

We also planted some plants. We have a new flowering cherry with interesting gnarly branches to replace the dead Yellow Broome. A nice white early flowering upright shrub and a striking evergreen perential with bright green and white leaves. Some new wallflowers and some bedding plants for the planters.

Board Games

With my sister and brother in law up there were board games.

I played the following

Power Grid for the first time. Long game but interesting. Put aside three hours or more to play it. We broke our session with dinner.

Blueprint - second time. A game based on architecture. Short game (30 minutes or so). Nice mechanic. Not deep. I feel it's going to be a pleasant warm up game, or one The Captain can join in with.

Camel Up - a short funny betting game based on a camel race. The Captain did really well with the betting and the counting. Particularly when the game is for 8 year olds and older.

Ticket to Ride Europe with the 1912 expansion pack. We tried one of the new sets of card. It worked well and Bluebird through a combination of luck and judgement managed the family highest ever score with a series of about a dozen new route draws towards the end of the game. For a few minutes I thought she was going to top 200 points.

Tsuro came out for some Captain gaming.

Machi Koro with the Harbour and the (new to me) Millionaire's Row Expansion Packs. The game works very well with the Harbour expansion. I consider that the base game. Millionaire's Row changes the ethos of the game. The base game doesn't have many opportunities to agrressively interfere with other players. Millionaire's Row gives you the opportunity to disrupt them in several ways. It makes the game more interactive but sneakier. I liked it, the rest of the family less so.

I return to work having had a good week off.
danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
A very pleasant weekend in Bristol with Bluebird. Mainly pirates but with some psychology and gender politics.

Cut for brevity )
danieldwilliam: (Curly Wurly)
Quite literally on rollercoasters.

My day out at Alton Towers with my daughter )
danieldwilliam: (Default)

In a small step towards normalising relations with Bluebird’s mother she came to collect Bluebird from the station this weekend.


This may not seem like much but it is the first time she has put herself out to facilitate my on-going relationship with Bluebird.


I will need to think about how to take this forward.


danieldwilliam: (Default)

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